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Officials investigate small fire at home of Muslim camp founder

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  • Officials investigate small fire at home of Muslim camp founder

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Fire officials in Cedar Rapids say they
    have run out of leads in their investigation of a small fire set
    outside a home owned by the founder of a group planning to build a
    summer camp for Muslims.
    Fire investigator Al Brockhohn said he was called to analyze the
    cause of a fire reported June 30 outside a brick home owned by Bill
    Aossey.
    Aossey is the founder of Muslim Youth Camps of America, a
    nonprofit group that just got clearance by federal officials to
    build a summer youth camp on the shores of Coralville Lake.
    The proposal stirred opposition from neighbors, mostly for the
    impact it would have on the environment, lifestyle and government
    services. But it also stirred anti-Muslim sentiment and distrust
    from some in the Cedar Rapids area and across the nation.
    Brockhohn said the fire occurred on a chair in a concrete
    storage area underneath the house. The fire was small, fueled by
    paper and caused insignificant damage, he said.
    Nobody was home at the time the fire was reported by a neighbor
    and there is no reason to believe the fire was more than the work
    of a juvenile, Brockhohn said.
    "No criminal intent was there with this fire," he said. "Fuel
    was available to advance the fire, but it wasn't used. It just
    looks like somebody played with some things."
    The case has been classified as inactive, though investigators
    are awaiting lab results on evidence collected from the scene.
    Aossey and his son Jalel, spokesman for MYCA, were out of the
    country, according to employees of Midamar Corp., which supplies
    food that meets Muslim religious standards and food service
    equipment.
    Aossey's other son, Yahya, did not immediately return phone
    messages left Monday.
    But at least one Muslim organization with ties to MYCA says fire
    officials should take extra care in investigating the fire
    considering the circumstances of the camp project.
    Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman of the Washington D.C.-based Council
    on American Islamic Relations, contacted investigators Monday and
    asked them to take a second look at the blaze. Hooper said
    investigators were not aware of Aossey's prominent role in the
    camp.
    "Given the high-profile nature of the issue and the emotions it
    stirred up, it's at least reasonable to look at this a little
    closer," Hooper said. "Connections like these are not always
    apparent the first time around."
    ---
    On the Net: Midamar Corp.: http://www.midamar.com/
    Council on American Islamic Relations: http://www.cair-net.org/


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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